Tuesday, 25 October 2011
EU Referendum debate and fall out.
I should make it clear that it is not that I don't think the British people should have a say. On the contrary I think a referendum should happen but not at the current moment in time.
Europe and Euro scepticism has always been an obsession within the Conservative party and it is a personal demon that they need to reconcile but within the confines of their party. They need to come up with a party line rather than carrying it out internal debate within Parliament. A year ago Peter Bone raised the question of a referendum in PMQs and segments of the party have been harping on about it since then. I know the issue isn't dead, nor should it be.
This is a debate that needs to be had in parliament and taken to the people but in the future rather than now. If anything the government should be concentrating on sorting out the economic mess we're in first before worrying about this ideological crisis. Strangely though I do respect the MPs who brought this to debate and also who had the courage and conviction to stand up to the three teir whips and Government pressure, it is a sight rarely seen so even though I think your cause was mistimed your conduct is exemplery.
As Nick Bowls said last night. We have one shot at making this work, one "Referendum" card to play at the negotiations table when hashing out a new deal. If we shoot our bolt too early then it will fail.
Europe is a grand project, and if it can be reformed, if it can be worked out then the benefits will be there for all. Work is being done to combat environmental problems, crime, terrorism... do we throw it all away?
I think what is needed is a calmer time, before 2015, when both sides can put across their side of the debate calmly and collectively without fear of the press or different groups spreading fear and hyperbole and then the referendum.